A pardon allows a person who has been convicted of a crime to be free and absolved of that conviction, demonstrating that their debt to society has been paid.
Excerpted from Clarence Larkin’s “Dispensational Truth”
Kinsman Redeemer: (Hebrew Go’el) to redeem a relative who had been sold into slavery; to avenge the killing of a relative
The Requirements of the Go’el
- Must be a near relative or kinsman
- Has the means to bring about the redemption
- Has the desire to accomplish redemption
Jesus Christ Fulfills the Requirements of the Go’el
- a near relative or kinsman: Christ took on human flesh; His incarnation fulfilled this requirement, Heb. 2:14-15,17; Phil. 2:6-8; John 1:1,14. Jesus calls Himself the ‘Son of Man’ in Mark 10:45 and associates this name with His role as our Redeemer.
- has the means to bring about the redemption: He is the nearest kinsman that is free from the debt of sin; His perfect precious blood, 1 Pet. 1:18-19; not the blood of animals, Heb. 9:11-12, Heb. 9:22.
- has the desire to accomplish redemption: Jesus laid down His life on His own initiative, John 10:18; Jesus said, “Not My will but Thine be done” Luke 22:42.
Redemption is a Gift of God but It Must Be Received
The year was 1829. A man by the name of George Wilson and an accomplice seriously wounded a mail carrier during a robbery of the United States mail. They were arrested, tried and convicted of attempted murder and theft through the U.S. Mail. Both defendants were sentenced to death. James Porter, the accomplice, was executed on July 2, 1830.
When Wilson was sent to prison, his family made appeal after appeal. Eventually, the appeals reached the desk of then President Andrew Jackson. After he reviewed the files, he offered a pardon to George Wilson. In other words, Wilson received a piece of paper that forgave his ‘sins’ and he didn’t have to die.
They took the news into the prison. Amazingly, George Wilson refused the pardon. He refused the pardon. That set forth a tremendous legal battle because this had never before occurred in American history. The legality of such an action was uncertain.
Eventually, the case worked its way up to the Supreme Court and the decision came down from Chief Justice John Marshall, who, writing for the majority said,
“A pardon is of no effect until it is accepted by the one for whom it is intended. Though it is almost inconceivable that a condemned criminal would refuse a pardon, if he does refuse it, the pardon is of no effect.”
“A pardon is an act of grace, proceeding from the power entrusted with the execution of the laws, which exempts the individual on whom it is bestowed from the punishment the law inflicts for a crime he has committed.”
“A pardon is a deed, to the validity of which delivery is essential, and delivery is not complete without acceptance. It may then be rejected by the person to whom it is tendered; and if it be rejected, we have discovered no power in a court to enforce it on him.” http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-supreme-court/32/150.html
In the end, Wilson was hanged.
In the case of law, the above decision stands.
In the case of free will and grace, it stands, also.
In both the Old Testament and the New Testament, God made provision for the penalty of the broken law to be ascribed to a substitute, thus the covenant man could remain in right relationship with God and not suffer the sanctions of death and banishment.
In providing a substitute, God was offering mercy or provision to His covenant partner; otherwise, the law is of no effect.
Even though God is a God of mercy, when mercy is spurned, judgment is inevitable.